Sunday, January 28, 2007

Feeling Indecisive? Destination-pickers galore!

In the process of editing my book, more than a few of my brilliant (or so they seemed at the time) ideas have ended up on the proverbial "cutting room floor." While I'm sure that's all for the best, I thought I could salvage a few from the scrap heap and post them here so they don't go to waste!

So here is a recent victim of the edit. My list of the Top 10 Random Ways to Pick Your Next Camping Destination. It's written with US readers in mind, but if you just replace "State" with Province or Region and USA with your own country and they'll work anywhere.

Can’t decide where to go on your next romantic getaway? Willing to leave it up to chance? Here are some fun ways to let fate decide where you’ll be pitching your tent!
  1. Pin the tail on the trail - Stick a detailed trail or topographic map on the wall and put some blue tack on a paper dot. Now one of you puts on a blindfold and sticks the dot on the map. Wherever the dot has landed, go to the closest trail or river.
  2. Dartboard – Put a map of the USA up in front of a dart board (or cork board) and throw a dart. Your next big trip will be in the state where the dart landed. The worse you are at darts, the more random your choice will be!
  3. Dropsies – Put a state map on the floor. Hold a penny and stretch your arm out over the map. Drop the penny and visit the park closest to where it lands.
  4. Alphabetize – Go to the index of a guide book for your area. Pick a trail, park or river starting with “A” for your first trip, and work your way through the alphabet.
  5. Google it – Do an internet search by typing in the name of your state or region plus “camping”, “backpacking”, or “paddling” and check out the results. The first specific destination that comes up is where you’ll go.
  6. Spin the bottle – Put a state map on the table and lie a small bottle in the center. Give it a spin and see where the mouth of the bottle is pointing when it stops. Go there!
  7. Book-a-trip – Buy a good guide book for your state or favorite area. Close your eyes and open it to a random page. Whatever route is described, that’s where you’ll go. (If you’ve already done that page then close your eyes and pick again.)
  8. Follow the clubbers – Find the website of a local hiking or paddling club. Check out their schedule and see where they were last weekend. Go there this weekend.
  9. Bingo – Grab a map with alphanumeric grid markings. Without looking at the map, one of you picks a letter and the other picks a number. Find that square on the map and go to the nearest trail to there.
  10. Chore jar – If you’ve got a list of places you’d like to go but can’t choose one, write each place name on a slip of paper and put all of the slips into a jar. Now close your eyes and reach into the jar. The first one you pull out is where you’re going next. This one is great because you can keep the jar going for years by adding more places.

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